Transcript: NRA’s VP Wayne LaPierre calls for arming teachers with guns

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of press conference remarks by Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association (NRA), addressing the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 21, 2012: 

Good morning.

The National Rifle Association – 4 million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters – join the nation in horror, outrage, grief, and earnest prayer for the families of Newtown, Connecticut, who have suffered such an incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime.

Out of respect for the families and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment. While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectably silent. Now, we must speak for the safety of our nation’s children.

Because for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one – nobody – has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now starting today in a way that we know works?

The only way we know to answer that question is to face the truth.

Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

How did our nation’s priorities gotten so far out of order?

Think about it:

We care about our money so we protect our banks with armed guards.

American airports, office buildings, power plants, court houses, even sports stadiums are all protected by armed security.

We care about our President so we’d protect him with armed Secret Service agents.

Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers.

Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent and most vulnerable members of the American family – our children – we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it. That must change now.

The truth is…

[Protestor: “NRA stop killing our children. The NRA and the assault weapons are killing our children. We should not arm the teachers. We’ve got to end the arming. We’ve got to end the violence…Stop the killing in our schools. Stop the killing in our malls. Stop the killing in our streets. The NRA is killing our children. You’ve got to stop the violence, and violence begins with the NRA…They are the perpetrators of crimes that are being inflicted on our schools and on our streets…”]

The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters. People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?

How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall to wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave while provoking others to try to make their mark? Dozen more killers? A hundred more?

How can we possibly even guess how many given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

The fact is this: That wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger, more lethal criminal class – killers, robbers, rapists, gang members, who spread like cancer in every community across our nation.

Meanwhile, while that happens, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40% to the lowest levels in a decade.

So now, due to the declined willingness to prosecute dangerous criminals, violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years.

Add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural or manmade disaster and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.

And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exist in this country, sadly, a callous and corrupt shadow industry that sells and stokes violence against its own people through vicious, violent video games with names like “Bullet Storm”, “Grand Theft Auto”, “Mortal Kombat”, and “Splatter House.”

And here’s one – it’s called “Kindergarten Killers.” It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research staff can find it and all of yours couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?

Add another hurricane, add another natural disaster – I mean, we have blood-soaked films out there, like “American Psycho”, “Natural Born Killers”. They’re aired on propaganda loops on splatter days and every single day. A thousand music videos – and you all know this – portray life as a joke and they portray murder as a way of life. And then they all had the nerve to call it entertainment.

But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?

In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes every minute, every day, every hour of every single year.

A child growing up in America today witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18.

And throughout it all, too many in the national media – their corporate owners and their stockholders – act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.

Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners…

[Protestor: “The reckless behavior coming from the NRA. The NRA has blood on its hands. The NRA has blood on its hands. Shame on the NRA. Ban assault weapons now! Ban assault weapons now! NRA ban assault weapons now! Stop killing our children! Stop the reckless behavior of the NRA! We need gun control now!”]

Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaning action that all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away.

The media call semi-automatic firearms machine guns. They claim that these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military. They tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle calibers when all of these claims are factually untrue. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

Worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people will protect us where 20,000 other laws have failed.

As brave and heroic and as self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms and as prompt and professional and well-trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable – through no fault of their own – unable to stop him.

As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It’s now time for us to assume responsibility for our schools.

The only way – the only way – to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Would you rather have your 9-1-1 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or from a minute away?

Now, I can imagine the headlines – the shock me headlines – you’ll print tomorrow. More guns, you’ll claim, are the NRA’s answer to everything. Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools.

But since when did the gun automatically become a bad word?

A gun in the hands of a Secret Service agent protecting our President isn’t a bad word.

A gun in the hands of a soldier protecting the United States of America isn’t a bad word.

And when you hear your glass breaking at 3 a.m. and you call 9-1-1, you won’t be able to pray hard enough for a gun in the hands of a good guy to get there fast enough to protect you.

So, why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect the President of our country or our police but bad when it’s used to protect our children in our schools?

They’re our kids; they’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them, it’s our right to protect them.

You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy.

But what if – what if – when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he was confronted by qualified armed security. Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 little kids – the 26 innocent lives – might have been spared that day? Is it so important to you that you would rather risk the alternative?

Is the press and the political class here in Washington, D.C. so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and American gun owners that you’re willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life – her life – to shield those children in her care?

No one – no one – regardless of personal, political prejudice has the right to impose that sacrifice.

Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no national one-size-fits-all solution to protecting our children.

But do know this President zeroed out school emergency planning grants in last year’s budget and scrapped Secure Our School policing grants in next year’s budget.

With all the foreign aid the United States does, with all the money in the federal budget, can’t we afford to put a police officer in every single school? Even if they did that, politicians have no business and no authority denying us the right, the ability, and the moral imperative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm.

Now, the National Rifle Association knows there are millions of qualified active and retired police, active reserve and retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, rescue personnel – an extraordinary corp of patriotic, trained qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school. We could deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America’s schools safer, relying on the brave men and women in America’s police forces.

The budgets – and you all know this, every one in the country knows this – of our local police departments are strained and the resources are severely limited. But their dedication and courage is second to none and they can be deployed right now.

I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation and to do it now – to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in January.

Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation, or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy protection program proven to work and by that I mean armed security.

Right now today, every school in the United States should plan meetings with parents, school administrators, teachers, local authorities and draw upon every resources out there available to erect a core of protection around our kids right now. Every school’s going to have a different solution based on its own unique situation. Every school in America needs to immediately identify dedicate and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place though right now.

And the National Rifle Association – as America’s pre-eminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years – we have 11,000 police training instructors in the NRA is ready, willing, and uniquely qualified to help.

Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our school and our children now.

We did it for our nation’s defense industries and military installations during World War II. We did it for very young kids with our Eddie Eagle Child Safety Program that is throughout the country in schools right now. And we’ll do it again today.

The NRA is going to bring all its knowledge, all its dedication, and all its resources to develop a model national school shield emergency response program for every single school in America that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control, to information technology, to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in the field.

Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) will lead the effort as the national director of the National Model School Shield Program with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as United States Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Under-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts that are available in the United States of America to get this program running from the first day forward.

If we truly cherish our kids more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and that security is only available with properly trained armed good guys.

Under Asa’s leadership, our team of security experts will make this program available for the world to protecting our children at school and we’ll make that program available for every single school in America free of charge.

That’s a plan of action that can and will make a real positive, indisputable difference in the safety of our children and it will start right now.

There’s going to be a lot of time for talk and debate later. This is a time – this is a day – for decisive action. We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We can’t lose precious time to debating legislation that won’t work. We mustn’t allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us. We must act now for the sake of every child in America.

I call on every parent, I call on every teacher, I call on every school administrator, every law enforcement officer in this country to join with us and help create a national school shields safety program to protect our children with the only positive line of defense that’s tested and proven to work.

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